The Instigator
Nate
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

A Financial Management Course Should Be Required Curriculum At All Colleges And Universities

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2007 Category: Education
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,400 times Debate No: 211
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (13)

 

Nate

Pro

Loan default rates and bankruptcy rates are at an all time high in the United States. Americans are maxing out credit cards, borrowing money that they can't pay back, and taking out student loans with abnormally high interest rates. Basic financial management skills of even college educated people have become laughable.

I believe that a financial management course should be part of the required curriculum at all colleges and universities. This course would allow college students to gain valuable financial knowledge that could be used for the rest of their lives. Basic financial management knowledge would help to lower bankruptcy and loan default rates. It would also help young, impressionable adults learn the dangers of credit card debt and high interest "student loans" that anyone can get.

By not having a financial management course as required curriculum at all colleges and universities we are leaving the doors wide open for the continued abuse of our countries' financial system.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

By what right do you assert to make uniform this course? When you state that "all things should be uniform, what you are speaking of, ultimately, is either pointing a gun at those who run colleges and telling them to either demand the course or stop operating; or you are using that gun to extort money from taxpayers and subsidize the course. In the first case, your crime is slavery, in the second, robbery.

You cannot expect people to take lessons of financial management seriously when they come at the behest of a government that is this deeply in debt.

You want to lower debt rates? Stop having the government subsidize loans. The market will clear out those who offer loans to those unlikely to repay them.

Every time you force a new course on all students, the students who already know what they would learn in it are forced to waste time on learning nothing and drop courses they would learn something from.

So who is the beneficiary? Idiots who won't take the courses they need without prodding? At the cost of slavery, robbery, and the waste of intelligent people's time?

What's next, force people who aren't racist to sit through diversity training that teaches them that people's value is determined by the color of the skin,in the hopes of sending those who are racist in a less offensive racist direction? Oh wait, some school districts already do that.
Debate Round No. 1
Nate

Pro

Hi Ragnar,

Thank you for accepting my debate challenge.

First off, I never said that all things should be uniform, so the misquote in the first round relates to absolutely nothing. In fact, I didn't say anything should be uniform, I didn't even state that all colleges should have the same financial management course, just some form of one.

Second, how do you get slavery, robbery, and racism out of this topic? It is absolute absurb to correlate financial management to any one of those topics.

Third, this debate isn't about government bashing and the debt of the United States, it's about students and their need for sound financial management skills.

Now that we have cleared all of those misinterpretations up I will get back to the issue and the valid points you have brought up.

While it can be debated that some college students have strong financial management skills, 99% of college students do not. Therefore the need for a financial management course is validated. For those that do have the knowledge that this course provides, good for them, they will get an easy A and be able to concentrate on their other studies. Financial management is a skill that takes practice and a lifetime to learn. There are always ways to better your financial management skills.

The additional dollars that would need to be spent to conduct this course would be minimal and the money that would be saved by the states from not "having the government subsidize loans", as you stated, would easily offset any money spent by the states on this course. We aren't only talking about public universities in this debate, either. Private universities have more than enough money to implement this course into their curriculum without any adverse effects.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

I did not "misinterpret" you, though you might have misinterpreted me. When you advocate requiring a given course at "all colleges and universities," as you have now clarified, "public and private," There is no other means to accomplish this at "all colleges and universities" but through government use of a gun for purposes of robbery and/or slavery , and I challenge you to provide one that will not involve that. An end's validity must account for how it can be accomplished and whether those means are valid.

The racism bit was a reductio ad absurdum on the same line of reasoning, not something related to the topic but your method of argument. In English, I wasn't accusing you :D.

This topic is about debt, and therefore clearly the debt of the United States is relevant. You cannot expect people to act consistently in a more responsible method than the institution trying to get them to act responsibly, and the United States government is the only institution capable of enacting such a common standard for all universities.

Do you have a statistic to back up "99% of college students?" And who determines what "good financial management skills" are and how they can be taught? People are constantly informed of the consequences of debt these days, it hasn't had any noticeable effect, why would one college course help where all the advertising campaigns in the world have failed?

The state will not in the long run save any money, even if the courses do somehow "improve" financial management, because it will simply embolden government officials to expand subsidized credit even more and keep it longer, by narrowing deterrent consequences. And by what means do you intend to force private universities to do this?
Debate Round No. 2
Nate

Pro

I find it interesting the arguments you are trying to validify in this argument. It is different interpretations users seem to have on this website are extremely unique but, they all try and attack the government in their arguments. My argument is plain and simple. It doesn't involve the government "use of a gun for purposes of robbery and/or slavery" and while government debt can be through into the picture, it is not relevant enough to mention. This is about personal financial choices and the lack of strong financial choices that today's populations and mainly today's 18+ youth are making.

Now to rebut the points you have made in your second round.

Government debt is a hot political issue right now, we know our economy is suffering and that government debt is in the trillions. Wouldn't a government with poor financial skills encourage its' citizens to practice good financial management skills. Basic economic principles state that when an economy is suffering, members of the population are going to save instead of spend, whether it is through government bonds, long term investments, or interest from savings accounts. The three means just mentioned are great practices of financial management. Therefore an government setting a bad examples by taking on debt is actually helping to set a good example for its' population.

At this time, there are no direct statistics available to show that 99% of college students don't have good financial management skills but, we are working hard on studies to prove this fact. Let me ask you...what percentage of college students in their freshman year do you think you can balance a checkbook? What percentage of college students knows exactly what the different interest rates on their credit cards and savings accounts are and how they are calculated? It is very possible to measure what good financial skills are. They are a basic understanding of the ways to invest, save, and spend money. It is also a basic understanding of the economic principles, business principles, and mathematical principles that make our financial system run. It isn't hard to learn and it could easily be taught in one semester or one quarter. For the purposes of this debate, however, we are not debating how this course could be conducted, we are debating whether or not a financial management course should be part of the required curriculum.

We cannot prove that the state won't save money until we were to implement the program and see its long term effects. It is very possible that by implementing a financial management course, the nation could see a dramatic decrease in personal debt, lowering the cost of loans and many good and services.

It's hard to force any entity to adopt a required curriculum unless they receive direct funding from the people that want the course implemented. Public universities would be the first to adopt this new course with the help of government backing. From their, given the positive results, private colleges would see the benefits and adopt the course as well.

Those points being made, I have one last question for you. Would you, personally, like to see a financial management course at colleges and universities? Do you think it would be beneficial to the students at these institutions? Was there ever a time in your life where you wished you had more knowledge about some area of the financial markets? Have you ever wondered if there were better was to invest your money than by just sticking it in a bank savings accounts?

I have enjoyed this debate and look forward to reading your next round.
Thank you, Nate.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

If your argument doesn't "involve the use of a gun," then it cannot by definition create a "required curriculum for ALL colleges and universities," which means the topic itself was worded wrong.

When you state "Basic economic principles state that when an economy is suffering, members of the population are going to save instead of spend, whether it is through government bonds, long term investments, or interest from savings accounts," you go out of the context of those principles. During an economic contraction it might indeed have such an effect, but our debt has not yet lead to a contraction, it just pours right into people's pockets and gets spent, thus creating the opposite effect of that you describe. By the way, I would disagree that offering the government a bond as your method of savings is a good practice, especially considering the amount of debt it already has. One of these days, by the very nature of debt, if this trend continues, all government bonds will collapse at once. And the more money is put into such bonds, the quicker it comes.

What percentage of college students would I estimate CAN balance a checkbook? I'd say 95%. Most of those DON'T, but that is because they don't want to, not because they can't. All you need these days to be able to is Google and math skills (plus a checking account, I happen to lack one of those however :D). I'm sure the percentage that knows the interest on their credit cards is rather low (people are lazy) though they could easily educate themselves on the matter. People with savings accounts probably pay more attention to the interest rates, since they are making and not spending.

We might not be able to "prove" empirically whether the state will save money this way without trying it, but to apply that reasoning consistently one would have to test every plan that everyone ever came up with, many of which are harmful and contradictory. Act on what's likely. Besides, economics can't really create "controlled experiments" anyway, the world is too complicated.

What "benefits" do you mean the private colleges would see in order to adopt it? So far your arguments involve the state supposedly saving money and the students accruing less debt. Colleges kind of rely on students being in debt, and private ones don't care much about what impact their own institution can have on government debt.

Would I like to see a financial management course at colleges and universities? Though I don't support barring them from creating a course, I don't think such a course in total as such is necessarily the best use of a student's time, there is only so much content to cover that would be universally applicable. A freshman economics course offered to those seeking degrees in non-economic intensive fields , however, that included a unit on financial management, would be a good idea. If a college wants to make such a course part of its core requirements, however, it should obviously waive it for those majoring or minoring in business, marketing, economics, etc, and perhaps provide a test whereby students who have independently gained the education the course seeks to provide can demonstrate that knowledge and thus also waive it.

Every time I've wanted more knowledge about a given subject, I've looked for it in a book or online :D. And I played the Stock Market Game years ago and made an 11% return on investment in three months (long term average stock returns are traditionally estimated to be 7%), during the months September 11th happened and drove the stock market down no less, so I'm quite aware that there are other ways to invest money :D
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
When I argued this I didn't realize he was an admin... :D
Posted by Logos 9 years ago
Logos
Ragnar has a point: Any compulsory government program is essentially done by force. I agree with Ragnar, but overall I think Nate's arguments were conveyed a little bit better, but since Ragnar's argument's were sounder I have to give it to him.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
Ranger Rahl's logic cannot be refuted: Why should the government -- so deeply in debt -- be in charge of designing/approving a mandatory financial course? THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF DOES NOT UNDERSTAND ECONOMICS. They should hire Dr. Robert Murphy or another scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute to design the course, and then FORCE CONGRESS AND ALL GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRATS to take it! Then maybe there would be more of an argument for mandatory financial courses for the rest of us!

Right now, what would the government teach? Here's my idea:

LESSON 1: Spend more money than you make.

LESSON 2: Print new money to make up the shortfall
Posted by Phil 9 years ago
Phil
Good debate topic. I would argue that this should even be taught in high school, along with "Defensive Hand Gun Training".
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